For as long as I can remember I've been in a family where Mahikari
has been a part of everyday life. I was a Mahikari Baby. Mum used to
take us to the Centre all the time, and I grew up thinking that it was
normal to receive Light, go to Ceremonies, have an Ancestors Altar, and
hear Mahikari Teachings.
Whenever we went to the Centre, Mum gave and received Light while my
brother and I played in the Children's Room. People were always asking
us to come and receive Light, which took a fair amount of time, and we
had to sit still which was quite difficult for us. Mostly I didn't want
to, and I never felt any better or different after receiving Light.
When I was about nine I started to be hassled by the members and
staff at the Centre. They kept on asking me if I was going to attend the
Primary Course when I was ten. I would say that I might do it when I was
a bit older, but I wasn't sure. This wasn't enough for them, and they
kept on asking every time I went to the Centre. It was very annoying.
People just presumed that I was going to do the Primary Course because
my mum was a member.
After the new Dojo was built, I was questioned more frequently, and
now about my age as well. I was already ten and a half, and I still
didn't want to do the Primary Course. The first Primary Course at the
new building was approaching rapidly. I felt like the staff were forcing
me into attending the Primary Course. I knew it would please Mum as
well, so I finally gave in. Everyone at the Centre congratulated me for
a while. Then I had to do a lot of work to get ready. I had to learn how
to take care of the Divine Pendant by having a practice one. I had to
wear a singlet to hold the Pendant in a pocket, and I didn't like this
much. The Omitama was very hard to look after properly. I also had to
memorise the Amatsu Norigoto prayer, which was long and complicated.
The Primary Course finally came. It was extremely tiring and very
boring. I didn't take any notes, and not very much of the teachings made
sense to me. The days were far too long, much longer than school hours,
and we didn't get enough breaks. I didn't feel like going most of the
time. I think some of the other kids there felt the same.
After I joined, instead of being hassled about when I was going to do
the Primary Course, I was hassled about giving and receiving Light, so
it wasn't much different. Even if I said I didn't want to, they still
kept asking me, 'Are you sure?', as if they didn't believe me. I didn't
want to have to give Light all the time, in fact I didn't want to do it
at all. I stopped wearing my Omitama after a few months, and I haven't
missed it at all. I'm really glad we all left Mahikari. I think that
kids shouldn't be allowed to do the Primary Course until they're older
and they should not be hassled into joining.
"Tom", aged 12